It’s bound to happen. You’ve planned the perfect Disney World vacation, only to have the weather turn foul once you’ve arrived in Orlando. While most visitors take the occasional rain shower in stride, there are times when Mother Nature has other plans. If the weather turns dangerous, Disney has policies in place to ensure that all guests are safe and sound – and can enjoy their vacations.


Heavy rain showers and thunderstorms are part of life in central Florida. In fact, it’s a rare summer day that doesn’t see some sort of precipitation, even if it’s just for a few moments in a localized area. In general, these short bursts of weather don’t affect Disney operations. Guests just don their rain ponchos and keep on having fun. However, when the rain is accompanied by lightning, it’s possible that some attractions will close until the storm passes. If the cast members feel that continuing to operate the ride will endanger guests, they will close the ride until it’s safe to continue operating. In most cases, these weather closures last for only short periods. In general, the Disney water parks tend to be the most affected by the weather, and might not open at all on rainy or stormy days.

Hurricanes at the Park

Another reality of life in the tropical zone: hurricanes. While Disney World’s inland location keeps it relatively safe from the worst effects of hurricanes, the high winds and heavy rains can put a damper on the magic. If the forecast show a hurricane will hit the Orlando area, it’s likely that one or more parks will be closed until the storm passes. If you are staying at a hotel in the area, your hotel front desk or concierge will be able to tell you the status of the park, and local media will be alerted to the closure as well.

Hurricanes Before You Arrive

There’s little that is more disappointing than having a major storm disrupt your travel plans; however, since there is a chance that hurricanes could keep visitors from making their scheduled trips, Disney World has a comprehensive hurricane policy in place. In short, if a hurricane is in the forecast for either Orlando or the city of your residence within seven days of your scheduled arrival date, you can reschedule your reservations with Disney without incurring any change fees. This does not apply to any reservations made with a third party, including airline tickets. The money that you paid toward your original reservation will be applied to the new reservation, but you are not guaranteed the same accommodations, nor will any special offers, such as free dining, apply to your new reservation. If you opt to cancel your trip, the standard cancellation policy will be in effect; if your trip is less than 44 days away, Disney charges a $200 cancellation fee.

Enjoying the Weather

Major weather events are relatively rare, but even if you encounter a rainy day at Disney World, you can still have fun. Head to the indoor attractions until the storm passes; every park has indoor shows and exhibits that operate even when the weather turns damp. The Downtown Disney and West Side Marketplace are also ideal for rainy days. The shopping and dining area offers nearly any Disney souvenir imaginable, and houses a movie theater and Disney Quest, a multilevel arcade and interactive game center. Or take the opportunity of a few hours of rain to relax at your hotel, dine with a character or explore your resort. The weather will improve eventually, and you’ll be back to experiencing all of the magic of Disney.